Lebanon has been drowning in a sea of trash, both metaphorically and literally, ever since the midst of July. We were all disgusted by the floating garbage when the rainstorm hit Beirut only a few weeks ago.
What we may not know, however, is that these wastes, with time, are being disintegrated into the soil, which allows the contaminants to sweep through and infect one of our non-renewable resources, fossil water.
Saying that this key resource is polluted is equivalent to saying that the water we drink, shower with or use to irrigate crops is now infected. Thus, the contaminated soil becomes a source of poison for the crops we grow, and therefore the food we eat.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t stop here. Dr. Iman Nuwayhid, Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences at AUB, said in an interview with the Daily Star that “One of the main issues, especially with organic waste, is that you’re going to have a good environment for mosquitoes and flies to really overpopulate.”
In fact, as predicted, ever since Friday afternoon, flies have managed to invade Beirut and more specifically Achrafieh and Gemmayze, as if the amount of trash isn’t suffocating enough.
This attack is mostly due to the high number of rats dying near the garbage cans. We’re not talking about a few flies here and there, but rather hundreds and thousands of them. These flies roaming around the dead rats are the same ones that keep landing on your food or on yourself.
These insects help spread diseases, and therefore, increase your chances of getting serious illnesses; including diarrhea, fever, and gastroenteritis. When citizens asked for a solution, the municipality of Beirut claimed that it does not have the necessary insecticides in order to solve this problem or to reduce the amount of the attack.
Even though the trash crisis is unlikely to cause an immediate public health emergency, it shouldn’t be neglected.
With the increase of contaminated water, toxic food, and diseases, we could be facing some serious long term health effects. Our health is in danger and our lives are at risk, but no one seems to care.
What happened to the basic fundamental human rights? Where is this all coming from? Well, this is the result of our careless government, which seems to have more important issues to resolve right now. But, of course, electing a new president isn’t one of them either.